Terrell Bolton may have won the right to take his wrongful-termination suit against the city to the federal level, but he still doesn't know whether he'll fight City Hall in court as the next police chief of DeKalb County, Georgia. As we mentioned Friday, the folks there still haven't decided whether to hire the fired chief -- who, this very day, is the subject of a profile in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which has a story headlined: "DeKalb applicant lost last job; Bolton led Dallas police." (The AJC is a registration-only site.)
The paper sent writer David Markiewicz here -- to Graham's Barber Shop No. 6 in South Dallas, even, where customer Bolton's still a popular man -- to write about the legacy of the former chief and chronicles a story Dallasites know well: Bolton demoted nine top assistants, "a move critics say left a leadership vacuum"; of course seven of those nine got the city to pay up more than $5.5 million in an out-of-court settlement. There was the recruit who was hired after he lied on his job application and failed a lie-detector test concerning an "unsolved homicide." And there was that fake drug scandal. Little things like that.
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Finally, in 2003, former Dallas City Manager Ted Benavides --- the same man who hired Bolton --- decided the chief had to go. "The accumulation of issues and incidents are distracting from the Police Department's work of ensuring the public's safety," Benavides wrote in a letter to Bolton's lawyer. "Public safety is the primary function of government, and I have lost confidence in the chief's ability to move the department forward in successfully pursuing this goal."
Benavides declined to be interviewed for the story; so did Mayor Laura Miller, who sent only this through her spokesperson: "The mayor of Dallas wishes the former chief well." (Oh no she didn't.) Of course, the story pretty much says Bolton blames his messy tenure on the mayor: He got caught up in "a political situation in Dallas," Bolton said. He added that his leaving was "like a bad divorce...I had a wonderful career there. But sometimes you don't get to write the ending."
You can only wonder what folks in Georgia think about all this. After all, says the piece, of the four candidates for the top cop gig in DeKalb County, Bolton's the only finalist who was fired, and his name "was added late to the list by DeKalb Chief Executive Officer Vernon Jones [after] a search committee selected by Jones interviewed Bolton but did not include him among the finalists they recommended." Y'all have fun now, y'hear? --Robert Wilonsky